Posted on : Monday February 27, 2012

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

MOUNT AIRY, Md.— Carol McGiffin didn’t really know the person in her Sunday school class, but she was sure she understood God’s direction in her heart: Anonymously send the woman a note of encouragement—every week. For a year.

And that’s exactly what McGiffin did. Since that first experience, she’s done the same with three other women, each of whom she has sent holiday cards and even birthday cards—in July because she didn’t know their actual birthdays.

Her weekly notes included personal observations about her life—things she learned from God’s creation, from scriptures, and even from her dog, Emma. She’s listed reasons why she was thankful, shared some of her personal life experiences, and otherwise sought to encourage as the Lord led her.

“It was an adventure every weekend, asking God to show me what I should say,” said McGiffin, who recently retired after serving 15 years for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware as a ministry assistant.

Many of these notes, names left out for obvious reasons, are included in McGiffin’s new book, “Changing Lives One Note at a Time: The Ministry of Note Writing” published by Inspiring Voices,, a service of Guideposts.

In her book, McGiffin also shares inspiration and guidance needed to begin writing notes as a form of encouragement. She believes that hand-written notes not only touch the hearts of those who receive them, but can have life-changing impact—especially in today’s technology-driven world, where people often communicate through text messaging, instant messaging and emails.

She understands their impact.

Notes, which her friend, author/artist Karla Dornacher, calls “treasures of the heart,” changed McGiffin’s life. During a very difficult time in McGiffin’s life, a woman whom she barely knew sent a note to encourage her to stay at the church where she could be loved.

“What a life-changing moment,” McGiffin writes. “Somebody cared about me and was willing to write a note to tell me… That short message from a willing heart changed my entire outlook.”

McGiffin explains, “It helped me to see through my heartbreak and focus on encouraging words.” When she considered the impact of that one note, she knew she wanted to do that for other people.

Why write a note? McGiffin says it’s because “notes have a unique way of giving a person value. As you share your thoughts with one person and tell him or her that you care, strength to endure is transmitted from the pen of one hand to they eyes of another.”

McGiffin credits her husband for encouraging her to write her book about her note-writing ministry experiences. “He witnessed firsthand the effect an encouraging note had on others from comments people made to him who received a note from me.”

With “Changing Lives One Note at a Time,” she hopes others will see the difference a note can make in another’s life, and how their own hearts will be refreshed by sharing God’s love with others.

“Once readers understand how refreshing and needed a note writing ministry is they will want to become ‘NOTE’worthy for God,” she shares.

To learn more, visit or email Carol at “Changing Lives One Note at a Time” is available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as the Inspiring Voices website.